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‘Art Bridges’ exhibitions at the EP Museum of Art

Hank+Willis+Thomas%3A+Art+Bridges+loan+explores+how+American+society+commodifies+Black+male+identity.
Jasmin Campoya
Hank Willis Thomas: Art Bridges loan explores how American society commodifies Black male identity.

The city of El Paso is home to many famous and important historical landmarks, especially in the city’s lively downtown area. One notable spot is the El Paso Museum of Art (EPMA) in the Downtown Art District.  

Founded in 1959, EPMA has had many opportunities in having highlighted thousands of pieces such as, a portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart.Other works exhibited, including Stuart’s, has been pulled from many parts of the world, as well as different periods in our history.  

With much history to include in one building, many institutions try bringing the best to the EPMA, but one who is achieving the museum’s mission to spread the creative and artistic visions of talented individuals is. 

Art Bridges, an organization that helps museums produce art collections to help platform visions that may not have platforms otherwise.  

Three collections currently running in the Museum of Art are “There is a Woman in Every Color: Black Women in Art,” “Hank Thomas Willis: Art Bridges loan” and “Vanessa German: Art Bridges loan.” All three are being head sponsored by Art Bridges. 

The support for this exhibit is provided by Art Bridges and it showcases black women in art. (Jasmin Campoya)

The first collection, “There is a Woman in Every Color: Black Women in Art,” focuses on the artistic and general representation of Black women over the past two centuries. With more than forty different works collected from Bowdoin College Museum of Arts, each unique piece displays the true reality of marginalization of Black women over a long stretch of time.  

Each piece can range from selected paintings, photographs and even objects like artistic sculptures and historical books.  

Noteworthy artists to be included in the collection vary from famous New York born sculptor, Edmonia Lewis to influential photographer, Carrie Mae Weems. “There Is a Woman in Every Color: Black Woman in Art” is currently showing and ends May 14. 

The second collection showcased one of Thomas’ more specific installations. A piece called “Pitch Blackness/ Off Whiteness,” by American conceptual artist, Hank Willis Thomas.  

Thomas, the 46-year-old artist, based in Brooklyn, New York, aims to confront the themes of perspective and identity in our current standing society. 

He tackles these themes head on with his conceptual approach while also exploring why oftentimes America has commodified what it means to be Black. 

His work spans from photographs, sculptures to specific installations. This work will be displayed presently until May 31.  

Finally, the third collection being shown off from Art Bridges is from American activist and sculptor, Vanessa German.  

Titled “Black Girl on Skateboard Going Where She’s Got to Go to Do What She’s Got to Do and It Might Not Have Anything to Do With You, Ever,” German explores the vibrancy of the color yellow on Black skin. 

The piece is inspired by the roots of Folk Art, combining fluid assertions of emotion and energy all squeezed into one sculpture.  

German creates a piece of art that expresses the joyous feeling of showing off your colorful personality and flying through the world while doing so. 

“Black Girl on Skateboard Going Where She’s Got to Go to Do What She’s Got to Do and It Might Not Have Anything to Do With You, Ever,” is currently showing now and leaves the museum May 31 of next year. 

Each piece from these collections and the different artists attached show what it means to create strong and creative art dedicated to and from the Black community. 

For more information visit the El Paso Museum of Art website. 

H. Catching Marginot is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected]    

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About the Contributors
H. Catching Marginot, Contributor/Writer
Henry Catching Marginot is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in multimedia journalism and minoring in English: rhetorical studies. He is a contributor at The Prospector and freelances. He plans to pursue writing in the future.
Jasmin Campoya, Photographer
Jasmin Campoya is a bilingual student who is a senior currently majoring in digital media production at UTEP. She is a staff photographer for The Prospector, a photo editor for Minero Magazine, and is currently a social media and marketing intern for El Paso Inc. All while being a full time student, she also takes photos for her own small business, JasminCPhoto. Jasmin plans on continuing photography and hopes to work full time at an El Paso publication.
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‘Art Bridges’ exhibitions at the EP Museum of Art